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Title: Fragments From France

Author: Captain Bruce Bairnsfather

Release Date: July 2, 2008 [EBook #25951]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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By Bruce Bairnsfather

Bullets and Billets

Fragments from France

A Few Fragments from His Life







The Knickerbocker Press

Transcriber's Note: Where text is included in a cartoon and a closer look would be aid in readability, links are provided to larger images. These links are indicated by underlines on the caption title providing your browser supports such linking.



By the Editor of "The Bystander."

HEN Tommy went out to the great war, he went smiling, and singing the latest ditty of the halls. The enemy scowled. War, said his professors of kultur and his hymnsters of hate, could never be waged in the Tipperary spirit, and the nation that sent to the front soldiers who sang and laughed must be the very decadent England they had all along denounced as unworthy of world-power.

I fear the enemy will be even more infuriated when he turns over the pages of this book. In it the spirit of the British citizen soldier, who, hating war as he hated hell, flocked to the colours to have his whack at the apostles of blood and iron, is translated to cold and permanent print. Here is the great war reduced to grim and gruesome absurdity. It is not fun poked by a mere looker-on, it is the fun felt in the war by one who has been through it.


Captain Bruce Bairnsfather has stayed at that "farm" which is portrayed in the double page of the book;[4] he has endured that shell-swept "'ole" that is depicted on the cover; he has watched the disappearance of that "blinkin' parapet" shown on one page; has had his hair cut under fire as shown on another. And having been through it all, he has just put down what he has seen and heard and felt and smelt and—laughed at.

Captain Bairnsfather went to the front in no mood of a "chiel takin' notes." It was the notes that took him. Before the war, some time a regular soldier, some time an engineer, he had little other idea than to sketch for mischief, on walls and shirt cuffs, and tablecloths. Without the war he might never have put pencil to paper for publication. But the war insisted.

It is not for his mere editor to forecast his vogue in posterity. Naturally I hope it will be a lasting one, but I am prejudiced. Let me, however, quote a letter which reached Captain Bairnsfather from somewhere in France:

"Twenty years after peace has been declared there will be no more potent stimulus to the recollections of an old soldier than your admirable sketches of trench life. May I, with all deference, congratulate you on your humour, your fidelity, your something-else not easily defined—I mean your power of expressing in black and white a condition of mind."

I hope that this forecast is a true one. If this sketch book is worthy to outlast the days of the war, and to be kept for remembrance on the shelves of those who have lived through it, it will have done its bit. For will it not be a standing reminder of the ingloriousness of war, its preposterous absurdity, and of its futility as a means of settling the affairs of nations?[5]

This picture was taken at the Front, less than a quarter of a mile from the German trenches. Captain Bairnsfather has come "straight off the mud," and is wearing a fur coat, a Balaclava helmet, and gum boots. Immediately behind him is a hole made by a "Jack Johnson" shell.

When the ardent Jingo of the day after to-morrow rattles the sabre, let there be somewhere handy a copy of "Fragments from France" that can be opened in front of him, at any page, just to remind him of what war is really like as it is fought in "civilised" times.

Captain Bairnsfather has become a household word—or perhaps one should say a trench-hold word. Who is ever the worse for a laugh? Certainly not the soldier in trench or dug-out or shell-swept billet. Rather may it be said that the Bairnsfather laughter has acted in thousands of cases as an antidote to the bane of depression. It is the good fortune of the British Army to possess such an antidote, and the ill-fortune of the other belligerents that they do not possess its equivalent.

A Scots officer, writing in the Edinburgh Evening News, hits the true sentiment towards Bairnsfather of the Army in France when he writes:

"To us out here the 'Fragments' are the very quintessence of life. We sit moping over a smoky charcoal fire in a dug-out. Suddenly someone, more wide-awake than others remembers the 'Fragments.' Out it comes, and we laugh[6] uproariously over each picture. For are these not the very things we are witnessing every day, incidents full of tragic humour? The fed-up spirit you see on the faces of Bairnsfather's pictures is a sham—a mask beneath which there lies something that is essentially British."

Man smoking

In a communication received by Captain Bairnsfather an eminent Member of Parliament writes: "You are rising to be a factor in the situation, just as Gillray was a factor in the Napoleonic wars." The difference is, however, that instead of turning his satire exclusively upon the enemy, as did Gillray, Captain Bairnsfather turns his—good-humouredly always—on his fellow-warriors. This habit of ours of making fun of ourselves has come by now to be fairly well understood by even the most sensitive and serious-minded of our continental friends and neighbours. It hardly needs nowadays to be pointed out that it is a fixed condition of the national life that wherever Britons are working together in any common object, whether in school, college, profession, or even warfare, they must never appear to be regarding their occupation too seriously. Those who know us—and who, nowadays, has the excuse for not knowing us, seeing how very much we have been discussed?—understand that our frivolity is apparent and not real. Because we have the gift of laughter, we are no less appreciative of grim realities than are our scowling enemies, and nobody knows that better in these days than those scowling enemies themselves.

Their hymns of hate and prayers for punishment have been impotent expressions of exasperation at our coolness, deliberation,[7] and inflexible determination—qualities they had deluded themselves before the war into believing would prove all a sham before the first blast of frightfulness. They told themselves that, a war once actually begun, the imperturbable pipe-smoking John Bull would be transformed into a cowering craven. More complete confusion of this false belief is nowhere to be found than in these "Fragments." It ranks as a colossal German defeat that successive bloodthirsty assaults upon us by land, sea, and air should produce a Bairnsfather, depicting the "contemptible little Army," swollen out of all recognition, settling humorously down to war as though it were the normal business of life.

"Fed up"? Yes, that is the word by which to describe, if you like, the prevalent Bairnsfather expression of countenance. But the kind of weariness he depicts is the reverse of the kind that implies "give up." Au contraire, mes amis! The "fed-up" Bairnsfather man is a fixture. "J'y suis," he might exclaim, if he spoke French, "et il m'embête que j'y suis. Je voudrais que je n'y sois pas. Mais j'y suis, et, mes bons camarades, par tous les dieux, j'y reste!"

If the enemy should read in the words "fed up" a sign that our tenacity is giving out, he reads it wrong; grim will be the disillusionment of any hopes he may build upon his misreading, and even grimmer the anger of those whom he may have deluded.

These verdammte Engländer are never what they seem, but are always something unpleasantly different. We are the Great Enigma of the war, and in our mystery lies our greatest strength. Let us be careful not to lose it. Those who would have us simplify ourselves upon the continental model, and present to the world a picture of sombre seriousness, are asking us to change our[8] national character. Cromwell asked the painter to paint him, "warts and all." Bairnsfather sketches us—smiles and all. And who would take the smiles off the "dials" of the figures you will see on the pages that follow?

Where to Live—[ADVT.] Where to Live—[ADVT.]
TO BE LET (three minutes from German trenches), this attractive and
containing one reception-kitchen-bedroom and UP-TO-DATE FUNK HOLE (4ft. by 6ft.), all modern inconveniences, including gas and water. This desirable Residence stands one foot above water level, commanding an excellent view of the enemy trenches.
—Particulars of the late Tenant, Room 6, Base Hospital, Bonlog c.


"Where did that one go to?" "Where did that one go to?"


My Dug-Out: A lay of the trenches. My Dug-Out: A lay of the trenches.


That Evening Star-shell. That Evening Star-shell.
"Oh, star of eve, whose tender beam
Falls on my spirit's troubled dream."
Wolfram's Aria in "Tannhäuser."


"They've evidently seen me." "They've evidently seen me."


Situation Shortly Vacant. Situation Shortly Vacant.
In an old-fashioned house in France an opening will shortly occur for a young man, with good prospects of getting a rise.


The Tactless Teuton. The Tactless Teuton.
A member of the Gravediggers' Corps joking with a private in the Orphans' Battalion, prior to a frontal attack.


"Well, if you knows of a better 'ole, go to it." "Well, if you knows of a better 'ole, go to it."


A Proposal in Flanders. A Proposal in Flanders.
The point of Jean's pitchfork awakens a sense of duty in a mine that shirked.


No Possible Doubt Whatever. No Possible Doubt Whatever.
Sentry: "'Alt! Who goes there?"
He of the Bundle: "You shut yer —— mouth, or I'll —— come and knock yer —— head off!"
Sentry: "Pass, friend!"


"Gott strafe this barbed wire." "Gott strafe this barbed wire."


So Obvious. So Obvious.
The Young and Talkative One: "Who made that 'ole?"
The Fed-up One: "Mice."


The Fatalist. The Fatalist.
I'm sure they'll 'ear this damn thing squeakin'."


A Maxim Maxim. A Maxim Maxim.
"Fire should be withheld till a favourable target presents itself."


Our Adaptable Armies. Our Adaptable Armies.
Private Jones (late "Zogitoff," the comedy wire artist) appreciably reduces the quantity of hate per yard of frontage.


A.D. Nineteen Fifty. A.D. Nineteen Fifty.
"I see the War Babies' Battalion is a coming out."


Frustrated Ingenuity. Frustrated Ingenuity.
Owing to dawn breaking sooner than he anticipated, that inventive fellow, Private Jones, has a trying time with his latest creation, "The Little Plugstreet," the sniper's friend.


Keeping His Hand In. Keeping His Hand In.
Private Smith, the company bomber, formerly "Shinio," the popular juggler, frequently causes considerable anxiety to his platoon.


"—— —— these —— —— rations." "—— —— these —— —— rations."


Dear —— Dear ——
"At present we are staying at a farm. . ."


The Eternal Question. The Eternal Question.
"When the 'ell is it goin' to be strawberry?"


Directing the Way at the Front. Directing the Way at the Front.
"Yer knows the dead 'orse 'cross the road? Well, keep straight on till yer comes to a p'rambulator 'longside a Johnson 'ole."


The Late Comer. The Late Comer.
"Where 'ave you been? 'Avin' your bloomin' fortune told?"


The Innocent Abroad. The Innocent Abroad.
Out since Mons: "Well, what sort of a night 'ave yer 'ad?"
Novice (but persistent optimist): "Oh, alright. 'Ad to get out and rest a bit now and again."


"There goes our blinkin' parapet again." "There goes our blinkin' parapet again."


"The Push"—in Three Chapters. "The Push"—in Three Chapters.
By one who's been "Pushed."


"The Spirit of our Troops is Excellent." "The Spirit of our Troops is Excellent."


The Things that Matter. The Things that Matter.
Scene: Loos, during the September offensive.
Colonel Fitz-Shrapnel receives the following message from "G. H. Q.":—
"Please let us know, as soon as possible, the number of tins of raspberry jam issued to you last Friday."


The Soldier's Dream. The Soldier's Dream.
A "Bitter" disappointment on waking.


The Thirst for Reprisals. The Thirst for Reprisals.
"'And me a rifle, someone. I'll give these ——s 'ell for this!"


The Ideal and the Real. The Ideal and the Real.
What we should like to see at our billets—and (inset) what we do see.


"Watch me make a fire-bucket of 'is 'elmet." "Watch me make a fire-bucket of 'is 'elmet."


"That 16-inch Sensation." "That 16-inch Sensation."


That Sword. That Sword.
How he thought he was going to use it——
——and how he did use it.


——and how he did use it.
What It Really Feels Like. What It Really Feels Like.
To be on patrol duty at night-time.


"The same old moon." "The same old moon."


"My dream for years to come." "My dream for years to come."


Coiffure in the Trenches. Coiffure in the Trenches.
"Keep yer 'ead still, or I'll 'ave yer blinkin' ear off."


Another Maxim Maxim. Another Maxim Maxim.
"Machine guns form a valuable support for infantry."


Our Democratic Army. Our Democratic Army.
Member of Navvies' Battalion (to Colonel): "I say, yer mate's dropped 'is cane."


Five days leave! Taxi!


Never Again! Never Again!
"In future I snipe from the ground."


Thoroughness. Thoroughness.
"What time shall I call you in the morning, sir?"
(Colonel Chutney, V.C., home on short leave, decides to keep in touch with dug-out life.)


That Hat. That Hat.
"Pop out and get it, Bert."
"Pop out yerself."


Springtime in Flanders. Springtime in Flanders.
"Personally, I think this is just what you want for laying your eggs in, but, as Bairnsfather says, 'If you knows of a better 'ole, go to it.'"


The Dud Shell—Or the Fuse-Top Collector. The Dud Shell—Or the Fuse-Top Collector.
"Give it a good 'ard 'un, Bert; you can generally 'ear 'em fizzing a bit first if they are a-goin' to explode."


"What's all this about unmarried men?" "What's all this about unmarried men?"


The Historical Touch. The Historical Touch.
"Well, Alfred, 'ow are the cakes?"


His Initiation. His Initiation.
No. 99988 Private Blobs (on sentry-go) feels that he has at last stumbled across the true explanation of that somewhat cryptic expression, "There'll be dirty work at the cross-roads to-night!"


When One Would Like to Start an Offensive on One's Own. When One Would Like to Start an Offensive on One's Own.
Recipe for Feeling Like This—Bully, biscuits, no coke, and leave just cancelled.


Trouble With One of the Souvenirs. Trouble With One of the Souvenirs.
"'Old these a minute while I takes that blinkin' smile off 'is dial."


The Conscientious Exhilarator. The Conscientious Exhilarator.
"Every encouragement should be given for singing and whistling."—(Extract from a "Military Manual.")
That painstaking fellow, Lieut. Orpheus, does his best, but finds it uphill work at times.


The Nest. The Nest.
"'Ere, when you're finished, I'll borrow that there top note of yours to clean the knives with."


Those Superstitions. Those Superstitions.
Private Sandy McNab cheers the assembly by pointing out (with the aid of his pocket almanac) that it is Friday the 13th and that their number is one too many.


The Professional Touch. The Professional Touch.
"Chuck us out that bag o' bombs, mate; it's under your 'ead."


Happy Memories of the Zoo. Happy Memories of the Zoo.
What Time do they Feed the Sea-Lions, Alf?"


Observation. Observation.
"'Ave a squint through these 'ere, Bill; you can see one of the ——'s eatin' a sausage as clear as anythin'."


Immediate and Important! Immediate and Important!
Never has Private Smith's face felt so large and smooth as when he hands his Captain the following message at what he feels is an unsuitable moment: "The G.O.C. notices with regret the tendency of all ranks to shave the upper lip. This practice must cease forthwith."


Other Times, Other Manners. Other Times, Other Manners.
The Decline of Poetry and Romance in War.


His Dual Obsession. His Dual Obsession.
Owing to the frequent recurrence of this dream, Herr Fritz von Lagershifter has decided to take his friends' advice: Give up sausage late at night and brood less upon the possible size of the British Army next spring.


The Communication Trench. The Communication Trench.
Problem—Whether to walk along the top and risk it, or do another mile of this.


Letting Himself Down. Letting Himself Down.
Having omitted to remove the elastic band prior to descent, Herr Franz von Flopp feels that the trial exhibition of his new parachute is a failure.


Old Saws and New Meanings——By Bairnsfather. Old Saws and New Meanings——By Bairnsfather.
There is certainly a lot of truth in that Napoleonic maxim, "An army moves on its stomach."


Nobbled. Nobbled.
"'Ow long are you up for, Bill?"
"Seven years."
"Yer lucky ——, I'm duration."


The Intelligence Department. The Intelligence Department.
"Is this 'ere the Warwicks?"
"Nao. 'Indenburg's blinkin' Light Infantry."


Valuable Fragment from Flanders: It All Comes to This in Time. Valuable Fragment from Flanders: It All Comes to This in Time.
"This interesting fragment, found near Ypres (known to the ancients as Wipers), throws a light on a subject which has long puzzled science, i.e., what was the origin and meaning of those immense zigzag slots in the ground stretching from Ostend to Belfort? There is no doubt that there was some inter-tribal war on at this period."—Extract from "The Bystander," a.d. 4916.


In Nineteen Something: General Sir Ian Jelloid at Home. In Nineteen Something: General Sir Ian Jelloid at Home.
Having picked up this cherished possession for a mere song at a sale near Verdun, the General has now let his country seat, "Shrapnel Park," and says he finds the new abode infinitely cheaper, and not a bit draughty, if you keep the breech closed.


In and Out (I). In and Out (I).
That last half-hour before "going in" to the same trenches for the 200th time.


In and Out (II). In and Out (II).
That first half-hour after "coming out" of those same trenches.


Pushfulness at Plug Street. Pushfulness at Plug Street.
Colonel Ian Jelloid, of the Blobshire Rifles, being an energetic and businesslike man, believes in advertising as an antidote to stagnant warfare.


His Secret Sorrow. His Secret Sorrow.
"I reckon this bloke must 'ave caught 'is face against some of them forts at Verdun!"


The Hard Lines of Communication. The Hard Lines of Communication.


The New Submarine Danger. The New Submarine Danger.
"They'll be torpedoin' us if we stick 'ere much longer, Bill."


War! War!
—As it is for most of us.


A Matter of Moment. A Matter of Moment.
"What was that, Bill?"
"Trench mortar."
"Ours or theirs?"


The Saint. The Saint.
That indiscriminating orb, the moon, gives Private Scattergood a saintly appearance, sadly out of keeping with his thoughts. He's filling 100 sandbags at 11 p.m.


Those Tubular Trenches. Those Tubular Trenches.
"Is this right for 'eadquarters?"
"Yes, change at Oxford Circus."


"We Look Before——And After." "We Look Before——And After."


Con Moto Perpetuo. Con Moto Perpetuo.
"Our Bert" (going on leave—having asked a question, and having listened to three minutes' unintelligible eloquence): "And 'ow does the chorus go?"


Real Sympathy. Real Sympathy.
"I wish you'd get something for that —— cough of yours. That's the second time you've blown the blinkin' candle out!"


Entanglements. Entanglements.
"Come on, Bert, it's safer in the trenches."




There are times when Private Lightfoot feels absolutely convinced that it's going to be a War of Exhaustion. There are times when Private Lightfoot feels absolutely convinced that it's going to be a War of Exhaustion.


Chat on 'Change. Chat on 'Change.
"You owes me two francs and I owes you one that's got into the lining of me coat; that makes it right, don't it?"


How Dick Manvers How Dick Manvers
Got His Star. Got His Star.
Every familiar feature of the Film is happily caricatured by Captain Bairnsfather in his amusing page of pictures. The hero, the heroine (with smile), the villain, the heavy father, all of the most approved pattern—everything down to [93]the meticulous inaccuracy characteristic of the American film in matters of detail, is shown with the good-natured sarcasm befitting a master of satire as well as of humour, while the story tells itself with breathless enthusiasm.
The Whip Hand. The Whip Hand.
Private Mulligatawny (the Australian Stock-whip wonder) frequently causes a lot of bother in the enemy's trenches.


Christmas Day: How it dawned for many. Christmas Day: How it dawned for many.


"Under the spreading chestnut tree the village smithy stands." "Under the spreading chestnut tree the village smithy stands."


Augusts Three. Augusts Three.
To each year its type.


Overheard in an Orchard. Overheard in an Orchard.
Said the Apple to the Plum: "Well, anyway, old man, they can never ask us what we did in the great war!"


Tips for Tommies. Tips for Tommies.
Now that the war has become a world business, we must at any moment expect the appearance of this sort of thing in our papers.


The Offensive. The Offensive.
What it looks like—and what it feels like.


"The Imminent, Deadly Breach." "The Imminent, Deadly Breach."
"Mind you don't fall through the seat of yer trousers, 'Arry!"


Telepathy. Telepathy.
"Two minds with but a single thought."


Trouville-sur-Somme. Trouville-sur-Somme.
"Tell 'er to 'op it, Bert. I'm sittin' on a bit o' shell or somethin'."


Omar the Optimist. Omar the Optimist.
"Here with a loaf of bread beneath the row,
A muttered curse, but ne'er a whine, and thou—
Beside me, singing in the wilderness,
The wilderness is Paradise enow."


"Where do yer want this put, Sargint?" "Where do yer want this put, Sargint?"
Coming to the Point. Coming to the Point.
"Let's 'ave this pin of yours a minute. I'll soon 'ave these winkles out of 'ere."


A Castle in the Air. A Castle in the Air.
"A few more, Bert, and that there château won't be worth livin' in."


The Freedom of the Seas. The Freedom of the Seas.
"I wish they'd 'old this war in England—don't you, Bill?" (No answer.)


In Dixie-Land. In Dixie-Land.
"Well, Friday—'ow's Crusoe?"


Alas! Poor Herr Von Yorick! Alas! Poor Herr Von Yorick!
Fricourt—July, 1916.


Those Signals. Those Signals.
THE VIGILANT ONE: "I say, old chap, what does two green lights and one red one mean?"
RECUMBENT GLADIATOR (just back from leave): "Two crêmes de menthe and a cherry brandy!"


His Christmas Goose. His Christmas Goose.
"You wait till I comes off dooty!"


Urgent. Urgent.
"Quick, afore this comes down!"


My Hat! My Hat!
Helmets, Shrapnel, One.


The Candid Friend. The Candid Friend.
"Well, yer know, I like the photo of you in your gas mask best."


The Long and the Short of It. The Long and the Short of It.
Up Last Draft: "I suppose you 'as to be careful 'ow you looks over the parapet about 'ere."
Out since Mons: "You needn't worry, me lad; the rats are going to be your only trouble."


"Old Moore" at the Front. "Old Moore" at the Front.
"As far as I can make out from this 'ere prophecy-book, Bill, the seventh year is going to be the worst, and after that every fourteenth!"


Supra-Normal. Supra-Normal.
Captain Mills-Bomme's temperature cracks the thermometer on seeing his recent daring exploits described as "On our right there is nothing to report."
(He and his battalion had merely occupied three lines of German trenches, and held them through a storm of heavy Lyddite for forty-eight hours.)


Tactical Developments. Tactical Developments.
Private 9998 Blobs has always thought a machine for imitating the sound of ration parties (and thus drawing fire) an excellent idea, but simply hates his evening for working it.


That "Out Wiring" Sensation. That "Out Wiring" Sensation.


Natural History of the War Natural History of the War
The Flanders Sea Lion (Leo Maritimus).
"An almost extinct amphibian, first discovered in Flanders during the Winter of 1914-15. Feeds almost exclusively on Plum and Apple Jam and Rum. Only savage when the latter is knocked off."


Things that Irritate. Things that Irritate.
Private Wm. Jones is not half so annoyed at accidentally falling down the mine crater as he is at hearing two friends murmuring the first verse of "Don't go down the mine, Daddy."


Still Keeping His Hand In. Still Keeping His Hand In.
Private Smith (late Shinio, the popular juggler) appreciably lowers the protective value of his section's shrapnel helmets by practising his celebrated plate and basin spinning act.


Those —— Mouth-Organs. Those —— Mouth-Organs.
"Keep away from the 'ive, Bert; 'e's goin' to sting yer!"


That Provost-Marshal Feeling. That Provost-Marshal Feeling.
A sensation only to be had at a Base—in other words, a base sensation.




Those Raiders at the Seat of War. Those Raiders at the Seat of War.
"I wish the 'ell you'd put a cork on that blinkin' pin of yours, Bert!"


Romance, 1917. Romance, 1917.
"Darling, every potato that I have is yours" (engaged).


Modern Topography. Modern Topography.
"Well, you see, here's the church and there's the post-office."


"There Was a Young Man of Cologne." "There Was a Young Man of Cologne."
(I've forgotten the rest of the poem, but it's something about "a bomb" and "If only he'd known.")


In the Support Trench. In the Support Trench.
Old Bill has practically decided to get Private Shinio (the ex-comedy-juggler and hand-balancer) transferred to another platoon.


It's the Little Things that Worry. It's the Little Things that Worry.
What is so particularly annoying to Private Lovebird is, that he would not have had this bother with his dug-out if his leave had not been postponed.


That Periscope Sensation. That Periscope Sensation.
"I wonder if I oughtn't to tell the captain about that thing sticking up in the sea over there."


At the Brewery Baths. At the Brewery Baths.
"You chuck another sardine at me, my lad, and you'll hear from my solicitors."


A Miner Success. A Miner Success.
"They must 'ave 'ad some good news or somethin', Alf; you can 'ear 'em cheerin' quite plain."


Birds of Ill Omen. Birds of Ill Omen.
"There's evidently goin' to be an offensive around 'ere, Bert."


If Only They'd Make "Old Bill" President of Those Tribunals. If Only They'd Make "Old Bill" President of Those Tribunals.
"Well, what's your job, me lad?"
"Making spots for rocking-horses, sir."
"Three months."
"Exemption, sir?"
"Nao, exemption be ——d! Three months' hard!"


The Stargazers. The Stargazers.
—and their return to earth.


Down at the Ration Dump. Down at the Ration Dump.
"Call me a Tank again, my lad, and I'll knock yer —— 'ead off!"


The Glorious Fifth. The Glorious Fifth.
"'Ere, Guy Fawkes—buzz off!"


Cox's. Cox's.
When one feels rather in favour of floating a War Loan of one's own.


This Muddy War. This Muddy War.
"These 'ere staff cars do splash a lot, don't they, Bill?" (No answer.)


Unappetising. Unappetising.
Moments when the Savoy, the Alhambra, and the Piccadilly Grill seem very far away (the offensive starts in half an hour).


That "Leave" Train. That "Leave" Train.


Other Times——Other Manners. Other Times——Other Manners.


The Tourists, 19..? The Tourists, 19..?
"Remember this place, Bert?"
"Yes, it's where we used to chuck the fish to you, ain't it, Bill?"


Alas! My poor Brother! Alas! My poor Brother!
(In this cartoon Captain Bairnsfather refers to the report that the corpses of German soldiers fallen in battle were utilised in a Corpse-Conversion Factory for the purpose of providing fats for the Fatherland.)


Can-Tank-erous. Can-Tank-erous.
"'Ere! Where the 'ell are ye comin' with that Turkish bath o' yours?"


Curfew. Curfew.
What particularly annoys Lieutenant Jones, R.F.A. (who thought he could get a better view from the belfry), is that irritating prediction which keeps passing through his head, "The curfew shall not ring to-night."


On the "Leave" Train. On the "Leave" Train.
You will never quite realise how closely we are bound to our French Ally until you have had the good fortune to travel on one of those "leave" trains—six a side, windows shut, fifty miles to go, and eighteen hours to do it!


Getting the Local Colour. Getting the Local Colour.
In that rare and elusive period known as "Leave" it is necessary to reconstruct the "Atmosphere" of the front as far as possible in order to produce the weekly "Fragment."


The Ghost of Dead Pig Farm—19..? The Ghost of Dead Pig Farm—19..?
At midnight, an indignant, husky voice is heard to say: "B—— these blinkin' sandbags."


George versus Germany. George versus Germany.
Should Mr. Robey be at any time called upon to go to the Front, he must be careful how he does this: "I'm surprised at you, Ludendorff!"


A Puzzle for Paderewski. A Puzzle for Paderewski.
"It's a pity Alf ain't 'ere, Bert; 'e can play the piana wonderful."


"Substitutes" in the Field. "Substitutes" in the Field.
"I thought you said your uncle was a sending you an umbrella."


Leave. Leave.
Dep.: Paddington 2.15. Arr. Home 4.


ROLLS-DAIMLER, 1917.—Four-seated Coupé body (très coupé). Hardly been used, beautifully finished (almost completely). One dickey seat (very dickey), detachable rims (two already detached). Only driven 10 miles (Albert to Gommecourt). Excellent shock absorber (has absorbed any amount). In exceptional condition. £650 (or good bath chair). BARGAIN.—Captain Somepush, No. 2, Red Cross, Rouen.
Merely a Warning. Merely a Warning.
To those who may be contemplating picking up a Government car cheaply after the war. Insist on seeing photograph. Don't be satisfied by just reading the advertisements.

Transcriber's Notes:

With the three noted exceptions, punctuation anomalies were retained to match the original drawings. The exceptions are in the books printed explanations, not in any cartoon.

Page 5, period added to illustration caption ("Jack Johnson" shell.)

Page 112, single opening quote changed to double. ("You wait till I)

Page 125, period added to title of picture to match rest of format (That Provost-Marshal Feeling.)

Pages 92 and 97 were halves of the same comic. They were reattached to aid readability.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Fragments From France, by 
Captain Bruce Bairnsfather


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